by Jo Uffendell
EFG Bank Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2013. Record-breaking British yachtswoman Dee Caffari MBE today lines up against eight international crews as her all-female team take on the third edition of the popular race. Starting in Bahrain, the race is a series of seven intense legs of offshore racing over two weeks along the seas of Arabia.
EFG Bank Sailing Arabia - The Tour. Starting in Bahrain
Caffari, who resumed her role as skipper and advisor to the Oman Sail all-female team in November last year, will once again be skippering the only all-female entry in the race onboard Al Thuraya Bank Muscat. Her crew includes four pioneering Omani women aged between 21 and 28, two of whom competed alongside her in last year’s race. Setting off from Manama in Bahrain today, the fleet will negotiate the Arabian Peninsula stopping at Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and three stops in Oman, promoting one of the regions fastest growing sports on their journey. Over the seven legs, the sailors will not only have to race offshore overnight but also compete in short, fast races close to shore at the stopover venues which will enable the public to get up close and watch the action.
Ahead of the first leg Caffari said:
'I am delighted to be back with the Oman Sail Women’s Programme and very much looking forward to competing with the girls again. We have been training hard over the last few months and I have seen the Omani girls flourish since I first met them all back in 2011. These young women are a real inspiration to others in the region and to women across the globe. In the near future all- female crews from the Middle East competing in these events will be commonplace and there is no reason why these girls shouldn't go on to compete in races around the world.'
For Caffari, this is a continuation of her involvement in a unique initiative that is breaking down barriers and encouraging women to participate in the sport of sailing. Caffari and a core team of elite international women sailors began coaching novice young Omani women to compete in Sail Arabia The Tour 2012. These young Omani women who had never seen themselves as athletes or leaders have been given credible role models in Caffari and their elite athlete peers. From never having been in a gym or experienced a competitive environment, to racing in an intense 1200 mile offshore race against men, these young women became leaders, role models and are today empowering thousands of other young women in Oman and across the globe.
Race team members Intisar Al Tobi, Raya Al Habsi and Tahira Al Yahyaee recently won the prestigious Al Mara Excellence Award for the most achieving Omani women in sport for 2012 and were recognized for their achievements in sailing as judges deemed their performance in Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2012 as remarkable, just narrowly missing a podium finish in the fourth place, weeks after their first experience on the water.
You can follow Caffari and her all female crew online by visiting Sailing Arabia Tour and SATT Facebook tabs in Facebook Oman Sail
Al Thuraya Bank Muscat crew list:
1. Dee Caffari
2. Sarah Hornby
3. Elizabeth Baylis
4. Katherine Pettibone
5. Raiya Al Habsi
6. Rajaa Al Uwaisi
7. Ibtisam Al Salmi
8. Tahira Al Yahyaee
9. Asrar Al Ajmi
10. Intesar Al Tobi
Sail Arabia-The Tour 2013 - Teams
1. EFG Bank
2. Renaissance Team
3. Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat
4. BAE Systems Team
5. Team Messe Frankfurt
6. Team AISM
7. Royal Navy of Oman
8. Team Abu Dhabi
9. Team Delft Challenge - TU Delft
Sailing Arabia Tour